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Brave Dog Quinta

Another Amazing Tripawds Three Legged Dog Blog

Brave Dog Quinta

Quinta starts a new journey.

September 5th, 2013 · 7 Comments · Uncategorized

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I spent Tuesday night next to Quinta’s body. In the morning, he seemed so peaceful after finally being released from the discomfort of illness. Friends stopped by the house throughout the day to pay their respects and leave flowers. Everyone commented on what a kind and loving dog Quinta was and how much joy he brought to our lives.

Quinta lying peacefully in the morning.

Quinta lying peacefully in the morning.

In the afternoon, we held a traditional Buddhist funeral for Quinta at a Buddhist temple. We filled Quinta’s hearse with lots of flowers, as well as some of his favorite toys and treats and a photograph of each of the cats and one of Quinta and me together from a trip we took in the snow several years ago. We wanted Quinta to take these things with him, as his soul is released from his body and transitions into a new life/existence as souls are supposed to do under the Buddhist faith. In this sense, physical death is not an end but an event for the soul to move onto a new life. While I am not deeply religious, the basic teachings of Buddhism and the Japanese traditions based on them give me comfort in accepting that Quinta has simply moved on as any living being is bound to do at physical death.

We filled Quinta's hearse with things he needs for his new journey.

We filled Quinta’s hearse with things he needs for his new journey.

We sat in a small room with a Buddhist altar and the monk chanted traditional Buddhist sutras to assist Quinta’s soul in moving onto its new existence. Each of us went up to the alter to light incense.

Quinta's funeral.

Quinta’s funeral.

We said goodbye to Quinta for the last time as his hearse was moved to the crematorium. We waited about an hour and a half for the cremation to be completed, and then gathered around Quinta’s ashes and carefully picked out his bones with chopsticks to place them into the urn per the Buddhist tradition.

At home, we set up a simple altar for Quinta’s remains, surrounded by flowers and some of Quinta’s favorite treats. He is home now, albeit in a smaller and different form. The loneliness and emptiness of the house is overwhelming and I realize that it will take a while to adjust to a new life without the physical presence of Quinta. But I know that he is always here in spirit and is looking after my family and friends, with the same kindness and love that he so readily shared with us in his earthly life.

Quinta comes home.

Quinta comes home.

I am deeply thankful for the kind messages of sympathy and support that everyone has sent me, and touched to learn that in such a short time, Quinta has made so many friends all over the world.


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Quinta goes to the rainbow bridge.

September 4th, 2013 · 10 Comments · Uncategorized

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Quinta passed away late Tuesday night, here at home. So as to make sure that I would not be alone, he waited until Tuesday when he knew that our dog-sitter would be spending the night. Quinta was in some discomfort all day Tuesday, but did not seem to be in pain. He passed away quietly and peacefully.

My beautiful Quinta.

My beautiful Quinta.

Brave Dog Quinta. He was the most precious thing in my life, the love of my life. Today I can only feel pain and sorrow and see your beautiful handsome face through my tears.

Quinta becomes a real angel.

Quinta becomes a real angel.

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Quinta fights back — and enjoys his special pancakes.

August 30th, 2013 · 7 Comments · Uncategorized

A heartfelt thanks for everyone’s kind messages of support, which were duly received and appreciated here across the Pacific. Quinta, while weak and in discomfort from his enlarged liver, is fighting back as if to insist that he is still alive and has a lot of capacity for love and joy. He can still get up and walk and go to the bathroom on his own. He still has a healthy appetite although the frequency and amount of his meals needed to be adjusted so that he does not eat a lot in one sitting (so as to relieve pressure on his stomach). Most importantly, Quinta still smiles and wags his tail when he is happy, especially when a friend is visiting or he is the center of attention. Quinta is still full of life.

Quinta is still full of life.

Quinta is still full of life.

The nights are the toughest; Quinta pants frequently and cannot sleep. A friend gave me some flower remedy (rescue remedy), which seems to help Quinta relax. I use a handmade oxygen mask hooked up to an oxygen machine at night, to help with Quinta’s breathing.

Quinta with his oxygen mask.

Quinta with his oxygen mask.

Quinta’s special pancakes — we are calling them “Gena Pancakes”, named after Gena, a friend’s Labrador, who passed away a few years ago from cancer and for whom my friend came up with the recipe — are a big hit and Quinta devours them with relish.

The recipe is very simple: one cup flour, two eggs, one-third cup milk, about a cup of chopped vegetables (cabbage, carrots and mushrooms) and about a half-cup of chopped (cooked) chicken liver. We also mixed in some maitake powder, believed to help boost the immune system.

Ingredients for Gena Pancakes.

Ingredients for Gena Pancakes.

Pancake batter.

Pancake batter.

The key is to make the pancakes small enough so that they are a little bit bigger than bite-size for Quinta. That way, he can have a few throughout the day as nutritious snacks.

Cooking Gena Pancakes.

Cooking Gena Pancakes.

Gena pancakes are ready!

Gena pancakes are ready!

Quinta eyeing a pancake.

Quinta eyeing a pancake.

Yum yum!

Yum yum!

I am learning to live day by day, listening to Quinta and what he wants and needs. Today, he wants love and joy and lots of delicious treats.

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Quinta says “Not today”.

August 28th, 2013 · 10 Comments · Uncategorized

Last night, Quinta went into shock from internal bleeding in his liver. I called our vet who kindly agreed to attend to him in the middle of the night. X-rays and ultrasound revealed that Quinta’s liver is abnormally enlarged, putting pressure on his other organs, including his stomach and his lung. Quinta was in such discomfort that I seriously considered euthanasia, but he held on and said that he still has the will to live, so I brought him home at 2 am.

Quinta is a fighter.

Quinta is a fighter.

Quinta is weak but is able to get up to go to the bathroom. He still wants to eat but can’t eat a lot in one sitting because of the pressure on his stomach, so a friend and I came up with a menu of foods to entice him, including mini pancakes with shredded vegetables and chicken liver (my friend, who has experience taking care of a dog suffering from cancer, came up with the recipe for these mini pancakes and says that cooking the pancakes gives off flavor that stimulates appetite). I also made mini hamburger patties to go with vegetable puree. Anything to keep Quinta’s strength up. My friend brought me fermented fruit and vegetable juice, which we diluted with mineral water and which Quinta loved. Here in Japan, we have a long history of fermented foods which are suppposed to do wonders for both humans and animals.

Quinta says “Not today”. He is holding on, because he is brave and strong, and knows his mom is not ready and needs time.

Quinta says "Not today".

Quinta says “Not today”.

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Quinta has acupuncture.

August 23rd, 2013 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

In his anemic condition, Quinta tires easily and pants frequently, especially at night. At the recommendation of our vet, we rented an oxygen machine to help Quinta breath more easily while he is sleeping. This seems to be helping, but Quinta still wakes up several times during the night and pants heavily.

Yesterday, our vet who specializes in Eastern medicine came by to give Quinta his acupuncture treatment. She worked on Quinta’s pressure points that are linked to boosting his immune system as well as those that are supposed to relieve his fatigue resulting from the anemia. The treatment seems to have made Quinta feel a lot better — he slept better last night and there was a lot less panting. Today, Quinta seems more relaxed and energetic.

Quinta getting acupuncture treatment.

Quinta getting acupuncture treatment.

After deciding not to pursue chemotherapy for Quinta, we have been focusing on alternative treatments, especially Eastern medicine. Our vet takes a holistic approach to Quinta’s treatment and is able to gain a good sense of his condition by touching various parts of his body and feeling his pulse, without overly relying on numbers and test results. This gives us a lot of comfort; we feel that we have a better understanding of Quinta’s overall condition (not just physical, but mental and emotional) and can adapt ourselves to his evolving needs in a more natural way.

Acupuncture helps Quinta feel better.

Acupuncture helps Quinta feel better.

Daily light therapy also seems to be helping Quinta. Every morning, I give him a massage followed by thirty minutes of light therapy. Quinta’s little sister Jam is always beside him and looks after him.

Jam looks after Quinta.

Jam looks after Quinta.

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Quinta gets a new toy.

August 20th, 2013 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

Monday evening, one of our former dog-sitters for Quinta came to visit. She had cared for Quinta for a couple of years several times a week and was one of Quinta’s favorite dog-sitters. She had not been aware of Quinta’s surgery and cancer diagnosis, but when she found out she rushed over to see Quinta. Quinta was delighted to see her and got up from his bed, excited and wagging his tail.

The dog-sitter brought Quinta a new toy — a stuffed dog wearing a crown, just like a prince. She said that it reminded her of Quinta.

Quinta and the dog prince.

Quinta and the dog prince.

Quinta has always loved soft toys. He has hundreds of stuffed animals in the house and loves to show them off to visitors. I was so happy to see that he still gets excited about new toys, just like he used to before his surgery and cancer diagnosis.

The new toy has quickly become a favorite. It sat next to Quinta this morning as Quinta was getting his light therapy (with Jam watching).

Quinta with his new friend.

Quinta with his new friend.

The other day, after I found out about how Quinta’s cancer had spread, I was e-mailing a friend and broke down crying. Quinta came to my side to comfort me. It is he who is ill and in discomfort, but Quinta still has the kindest heart to try to comfort me notwithstanding his condition. Every day, Quinta teaches me about compassion and love.

Quinta is my angel.

Quinta is my angel.

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Quinta goes for a check-up.

August 17th, 2013 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

Today — August 18 — is exactly a month since Quinta’s surgery. So much has happened and Quinta and I went through so many ups and downs during the past month that it feels a lot longer. Quinta has aged visibly during this period. The grey hair on his face is more prominent and, while he is still the same, handsome, smiling Quinta, from time to time I can spot signs of fatigue. It’s just the summer heat (quite severe here in Japan this year), I keep telling myself.

Quita sleeping.

Quita sleeping.

Yesterday, we went to the hospital for a check-up — x-ray, ultrasound and blood test. At the time of his discharge from hospital, we knew that Quinta’s tumor had spread to his lymph nodes. Yesterday, we confirmed that the tumor has spread to his liver and his lungs. His blood test showed that Quinta is severely anemic, notwithstanding his healthy appetite and the various supplements he has been taking. The vet believes that the anemia is causing him to pant, especially at night, because there is insufficient oxygen in Quinta’s blood. None of this was a surprise because we knew that histiocytic sarcoma is a very aggressive form of cancer, but it was a shock nevertheless.

Before we went to the hospital, I kept praying that we would somehow get a break this time. Quinta has had two major surgeries in the past two months, and he has just gotten adjusted to his new life as a tripawd. During the past few weeks, Quinta seemed to be getting better, hopping around the house and even going down the stairs on his own. He has been enjoying visits from his many friends and going outside in his new buggy was a major step forward for us. Quinta was happy to be at home, and seeing him happy almost made me forget that he is ill.

Quinta is tired.

Quinta is tired.

After deciding to forego chemotherapy, I focused on a range of alternative therapies from accupuncture to Chinese medicine to light therapy, all of which seemed to be helping Quinta feel better. So I hoped that this time, we would get a reprieve, however brief, and allow time to stand still if only for a few days or a few weeks. That would allow us to make it, somehow, until next spring, when we promised to go see the cherry blossoms together.

Quinta dreaming of cherry blossoms.

Quinta dreaming of cherry blossoms.

My darling Quinta. What a brave dog you are. You embrace your life and bring such joy and happiness to those you touch. Your heart is a fountain of love and compassion, for which we humans can only seek to strive. Even now, through his illness, Quinta teaches me how to be more loving and more compassionate.

Quinta with his little sister Jam.

Quinta with his little sister Jam.

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Quinta has therapy.

August 11th, 2013 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

It’s an unprecedented hot weekend in Japan (the Tokyo area reached close to 40 degrees centigrate yesterday), so we have been staying indoors in the air conditioned house and putting off more outside buggy trips for Quinta. That does not mean that the weekend has been uneventful.

Friends visited Saturday to check up on Quinta. He was thrilled to see them and was a very gracious host.

Quinta surrounded by friends.

Quinta surrounded by friends.

One of our friends brought specially blended organic oils for Quinta for use in his twice-daily massage.

Special oils for Quinta.

Special oils for Quinta.

Another friend introduced us to light therapy using a carbon lamp that emits light that is similar to sunlight except for the UV rays. This type of light therapy has been in use in Japan for many years (for people, as well as for pets) and apparently has been effective for all kinds of ailments, including cancer. At the very least, the light seems to have a very relaxing effect on Quinta and allows him to sleep well.

Quinta having light therapy.

Quinta having light therapy.

Friends also introduced us to Mozart music therapy, which is popluar here in Japan. We now have a series of Mozart CDs for Quinta and he is quickly becoming a Mozart buff.

Quinta and Mozart.

Quinta and Mozart.

For Quinta, the best “therapy” of all is being surrounded by caring friends and enjoying our peaceful life at home.

Quinta is happy to be at home.

Quinta is happy to be at home.

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Quinta has a busy Sunday.

August 4th, 2013 · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

Quinta had a busy day today. After what seemed like a slow and quiet morning, his grandma and grandpa (my parents) came over for a visit. They had not seen Quinta since the surgery, so were eager to see him.

When they came into the living room, Quinta immediately got up and hopped over to them to say hello. Grandpa brought cherry tomatoes and cucumbers for Quinta — he has been growing them for Quinta in his garden. Quinta got a lot of loving attention as well as praise and encouragement for what a brave dog he has been.

Quinta with grandma and grandpa.

Quinta with grandma and grandpa.

In the afternoon, we had another buggy outing. This time, Quinta’s friend An, a young and friendly greyhound, met us and we went for a “walk” together. We walked the same route that we used to before Quinta’s surgery and Quinta seemed very pleased to be in a familiar surrounding.

Quinta and An.

Quinta and An.

Quinta in his buggy.

Quinta in his buggy.

After an exicting outing, Quinta is now lying on his bed sound asleep. In his dreams, he is running around with An and feasting on his cherry tomatoes.

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Quinta goes for a walk — in his new buggy.

August 3rd, 2013 · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

Today, Quinta and I went on our “regular” walk around our neighborhood — in Quinta’s new buggy! Since he got home, Quinta has been a little hesitant about going outside. He was, however, happy to get into his new buggy and to go for a ride on our regular route.

We went to visit the lady at our neighborhood dry cleaning store. She and her husband are very fond of Quinta and Quinta loves to stop by the store because he knows that he will get treats! He had not visited since his surgery. I called the cleaning store lady before we headed over to let her know that we were coming, and she was waiting outside the store. She was so happy to see Quinta and cried, knowing what a brave dog he has been throughout his surgery and his recovery. Of course, she was all ready with the treats!

Quinta visits a friend.

Quinta visits a friend.

We are all trying to make sure that Quinta has as “normal” a life as possible — as close to the life we had before his surgery. If he cannot walk on our regular route, we can do so together if he rides the buggy. He can then visit with the same friends he used to visit and meet new friends and just enjoy being outside like any dog would.

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Dogs in buggies are not a common sight, at least where I live, so there were some people who stared at us as if I were a crazy woman. That did not bother me the least — so long as Quinta was having a great time!

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